Wednesday, September 29, 2010

A Halloween Decor Tutorial (that's so simple it's hardly a tutorial)

I've been told the recession is over. Only in my neck of the woods things are still tight (a little too tight if you know what I mean). This translates to a miniscule holiday decorating budget (aka no decorating budget). Now I could have given up and pulled out my boring old halloween decor. Only I DON'T WANT TO! (spouted while petulantly stomping my feet.)

And thankfully I didn't have to. Because I already had all the "ingredients" for this project it was (virtually) free.

  • Halloween Graphic (you can find all sorts of free vintage graphics from The Graphics Fairy)
  • A piece of wood (I literally scavenged mine from the empty lot next door)
  • Mod Podge (okay -- if you aren't crafty you *might* not have this lying around)
  • A paint brush
Take your graphic and cut it to fit the piece of wood. Spread a layer of mod-podge on the wood and then place your paper on top of it. Mod-podge over the top of your paper. Smooth out any wrinkles. Let dry. Simple as that.

Now if you so desire you can get all fancy and, say, paint the wood prior to adding the graphic. Or you could go and sand the edges to give it a nice finished look. Me? I dug through my son's bone collection and displayed them along with my new vintage skull. Yes. Bone collection. You know -- snakes and snails and puppy dog tails. Indeed he is a boy.

At any rate I'd say we're ready for trick or treat. Well, almost, it seems my daughter wants to be sushi for halloween ...

Sunday, September 26, 2010

I'm a trailer girl!

This weekend we snuck away for one last camping trip before the weather turned. We brought our sweet little fiberglass trailer (fresh with new curtains) to our first ever vintage trailer rally. What fun!

I really enjoyed staging the trailer interior. I borrowed several items from the shop -- salt and pepper shakers, a mushroom trivet, a fisher price record player, a camera (or two) and the precious ceramic basset hound. Seriously people -- it looked awesome staged. You can see additional photos here. I'll add more photos as I have time to process them.

And now I must admit - I'm completely exhausted. It's 9:00 pm and I am quite ready for bed. So I think I'll curl up under the covers with my book and shortly fall asleep.

I hope you, too, had a wonderful weekend!

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Welcome Fall!

Well it's official. It's autumn. I do declare this is one of my favorite seasons. I can't wait to feel the crunch of leaves under my feet!

This season is shaping up to be a busy one. We are kicking it off by attending a vintage trailer rally. Now when I signed up for this rally at the beginning of summer the September seemed Oh So Far Away. Of course we had time to refurbish our trailer, to cutesy it up. Yeah, right. Schnikes does time fly! So this week I'm desperately trying to make our "egg" presentable. I cleaned it out, put down a new, albeit temporary, floor and bought curtain fabric. If I have time I'd also like to sew a floor rug and decoupage one of the walls.

But time is a factor. The rally starts on Friday. I work today. Tomorrow is it.

And the work doesn't end once this rally is over. When we get back it'll be time to renovate the nook.

For now I bid you adieu -- it's hi ho hi ho for me.

Have a WONDERFUL day!

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Thursday, September 16, 2010

The post in which I ramble about my dream house

Lately I've spent a fair amount of time admiring, and truth be told, pining for other people's stuff. Their new house or farm or bedroom or studio.

I begin by perusing blogs. Then, slowly but surely, I disappear into Fantasia (my eyes gloss over and I might, perhaps, even drool a bit).

In Fantasia the Peculiar family lives on a small farm. There are chickens and cows and goats and pigs. We wander daily through the huge maple forest behind our house. In the winter we tap the trees and make our own syrup.

We support ourselves working from home; industry that doesn't require attention at 3:00 am. Out front, over the the left of the drive, is a small quirky outbuilding. It's our little vintage shop that is open every other weekend.

Our house, a remodeled farmhouse, has rustic wide plank wood floors and a wood burning stove. Each child has his or her own room. The edges and details are a bit worn - -in a shabby chic way. We love it; not to worry about the periodic nick or scratch -- it simply adds charm.

In the kitchen sits a large farmhouse table. We gather there often with family and friends, simple rustic food, wine and home brewed beer. Each year we host Thanksgiving. Friends often stay over -- sleeping in our cozy guest quarters.

Out back there's a lovely little garden shed -- reclaimed windows, barnwood siding and a tin roof. This is Mama's studio -- full of yarn and fabric and photographs. The kids love to lay on the oval rag rug and read while Mama works.

We have an apple orchard and pear trees. A plentiful vegetable garden is tucked behind a gorgeous wrought iron fence.

We aren't wealthy but we are content. We have everything we need.

Only there's one problem -- though I visit Fantasia often I don't actually live there. At least not yet. Until I procure the wherewithal to move to such a place I need to find contentment here, in the "real" world. I must seek satisfaction in laundry and dishes and our bumpy wood floor, with pet hair and doubled up rooms, a yellowing lawn, an overflowing garage and our short growing season.

On any given day I am relatively content. But not with everything. Lately I've been dreaming of space. Mama space. Just for me. A place to craft and set my stuff (rather than the kitchen table) Only where? This morning I figured it out.

You see we have a space, a nook really, that is terribly underutilized. It houses forlorn exercise equipment, a tv and a computer -- all of which will shortly be relocated. With my families blessing I am claiming this space as my own. And I have grand plans -- new flooring (on the cheap mind you), a robin's egg blue wall and a yellow formica crafting table. Yes. I have a lot of work ahead of me. But in the end, if I'm lucky, I'll have blurred the line between this world and Fantasia.

As Falcor said, "Never give up and good luck will find you." Oh I hope so! Indeed!

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Wednesday, September 15, 2010

And the winners are ...

Thank you thank you all who entered my giveaway! I really appreciate you taking the time to comment and visit my other pages. The winners were chosen via and are as follows:

The recipient of the Brownie Hawkeye is:

And the winner of the pyrex kitchen set is:

Congratulations! Contact me with your mailing address and I'll get those special packages in the mail asap. ♡♡

Friday, September 10, 2010

Exciting News!

A couple days ago there was a knock on the door. It was the kindly UPS man who, after being mauled by my *ahem* overly enthusiastic dogs, delivered a small package. The return address read Quirk Publications.

Squeeee! Was I excited! I tore open the wrapping and admired the contents -- a much anticipated book -- Witch Craft; Wicked Accessories, Creepy-Cute Toys, Magical Treats, and More!

And, yes, I do like halloween. I bake for it, dress for it, decorate for it and craft for it. But that's not the reason I was excited. No. I was ecstatic because my name was (is) in print! I am a contributing crafter for this publication. Squeeee!

I must admit -- this is a fun project to be part of. All the crafts (and crafters) are amazing.

For the first two days I barely got my hands on this book (my book!). Rather my girls were pouring over the pages -- marking all the crafts and projects we just had to do! On deck are chocolate marshmallow skulls, a cupcake graveyard, fuzzy bats, ghost toasts, a knitted spider and web hat, peanut butter and jelly skull sandwiches, ruby slippers and, finally, sleepy ghost broaches. As you can see our fall crafting schedule is now quite full.

But that didn't stop me from doing even more (yes, yes, my sanity may be in question. Let's not go there, shall we?). As such I created a supplemental project to accompany the spell jars and snow globes in the book-- creepy crawly DIY shrinky dinks. This project was soooo simple and terribly fun to do with kids. I hope to have a tutorial up soon.

Additionally I will be hosting a book giveaway in the very near future. But, if you can't wait, it's already available online.

And now I must go. I'm off with a skip in my step and I might even do a little dance. It really is quite exciting to see one's name in print.

Have a wonderful weekend my friends! I hope your days are equally bright and cheery!

Thursday, September 9, 2010


I am not having the best day today. I had bad dreams, stress dreams, about work versus parenthood. Though I can't remember the details the basic gist was that I needed to be home; to be a grounding force in the lives of my children. And that's all well and good except being home, at least at this juncture, does not pay the bills. So tonight I will dutifully change hats and go to work.

Hopefully - hopefully my children will not destroy the house. They will not watch too much television, will go to bed at a decent hour and will, possibly, peruse a book or two. Hopefully. And yes -- their father will be home. But I suspect he will be sound asleep on the couch -- exhausted from his work week. He does have the day off today. He's out thrifting (yes, alone). He wanted me to go but I felt I needed to be here. To attend to the dishes and the laundry and the bedrooms. The general care and maintenance of a family is challenging at best.

Today I'm not having the best day. I asked my 10-year-old to pack lunches for her and her sister. She lost it. Completely melted. I was treated to a litany of complaints about my parenting skills, or lack thereof, including how I, as the mother, should be packing their lunches. I responded that it was in her best interest and her duty as a member of this family to help out.

But that not so little voice in the back of my head was screaming BAD MOTHER, BAD! Because, you see, all good mothers make breakfast for their children and pack their lunches and walk them to school. Good mothers are home at night to tuck their children into bed and aren't too tired to function the next day. All too often I am none of the above.

Today did not get any better when a gorgeous pink snowflake pyrex casserole dish slid nonchalantly from the backseat of the car and shattered into a million pieces. I told myself it's just an object. Just a material thing. But truth-be-told a small piece of me was shattered as well.

This morning I did not look in the mirror. I got up, switched pj bottoms for jeans and threw on a sweater to take the girls to school. I'm still wearing the t-shirt I slept in. You don't want to see my hair.

When I finally did glance in the mirror I was startled. There, around my neck, was an orange necklace - handknit by my youngest last night as we watched Charlie and the Chocolate Factory. I had forgotten all about it.

This necklace, this sweet orange spot of cheer, reminded me -- it's not all bad. So today I will clean the house. Tonight I will go to work. And tomorrow, in a sleepless fog, I will deal with the aftermath. And so and and so forth ad nauseum. For these are the days of my life. They're not all good but they're not all bad. I simply have to take them as they come. As my friend and Buddhist mentor Karen Maezen Miller would say; your practice is your life.


Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Giveaway Time!

You guys did it! 100 likes on our Peculiar Momma Facebook page. Yipee! I am thrilled! Honestly -- you people are the best.

To say THANK YOU I am hosting not one but two giveaways!

First on the auction block -- a vintage Pyrex Spring Blossom mixing bowl (oft called Craisy Daisy), coupled with a vintage Cutco Cookbook (which has amazing illustrations), a vintage apron and a set of matching Pyrex salt and pepper shakers. Just think -- soon you could be mixing cookies in this fabulous bowl (by the way I'm making Pumpkin Chocolate Chip cookies today -- num num!)

The second giveaway is for a Brownie Hawkeye camera; similar to this gal here. She's great for display or for ttv photography.

Now how, you might ask, do you enter to win? Well let me tell you.

  1. First leave a comment on this post and tell me which item you would like to win and why. Easy peasy. Be sure to leave a link containing an email address should you be a lucky winner.
  2. Second visit my Etsy Shop -- come back and tell me what your favorite item is.
  3. Third tweet about this giveaway then come back and leave a link to your tweet.
  4. And, finally, give us a "like" over on our Facebook page then leave a comment saying you did so.
This contest will run for one week -- I'll accept comments until noon Pacific Standard Time on Wednesday September 15th. After that time I will draw two lucky winners.

And tomorrow -- another announcement. Stay tuned!

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Tuesday, September 7, 2010

More Thoughts on Imperfection

"If you look closely at a tree you'll notice it's knots and dead branches, just like our bodies. What we learn is that beauty and imperfection go together wonderfully."

~ Matthew Fox

My first thought when I saw this vintage pyrex cinderella was gorgeous! She had that sublime turquoise/robin's egg blue color which I adore. And she had a pattern I'd not seen before. I picked her up, intent upon bringing her home, then hesitated. She wasn't perfect. Though the pattern was intact her paint was scratched and mildly stained. I wasn't sure.

I consulted Mr. Peculiar. "Well, she's a little beat up," he said, "I don't know." And I hesitated again. I almost set her back down. But she drew me in. You see. Despite her imperfections she was delightful. How could I not? I brought her home. I figured if nobody else rejoiced in her beauty then she'd be mine, all mine!

After a bit of research I discovered she sported a rare embroidery pattern. Then I had to get on with my day. You see today was the first day of school. There were groceries to buy, children to transport, snacks and meals to prepare. Busy as I was, this bowl, thoughts of this bowl, kept churning in the back of my mind.

And finally it hit me. This bowl wasn't beautiful despite her imperfections. She was beautiful because of her imperfections. Her paint was scratched because Aunt Mary used her to bake cookies after school. And she has that little stain on the top because she sat at the Thanksgiving table and Grandpa Joe put her a little too close to the roast pan. This bowl has had a life. She has been loved.

And, honestly, the same holds true for you and me. Those liver spots on my hands? Kisses from the sun. The wrinkles around my eyes? Years of laughter. Those strands of hair that are a little less blond and a little more gray? Wisdom.

You and I and this sweet bowl are all alike; perfectly imperfect and well well loved.

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It doesn't feel right keeping this gal to myself. She needs to go out into this world and spread the love. So she's listed here, in the shop.

Now I have to tell you. Though it's not a matching set she looks awfully good with this cinderella butterprint bowl. You can see them together above. It almost seems like destiny.

Separately the bowls are $18.00 a piece. If you wish to buy them together I'll combine shipping and give you a discount at $28.00 for the set. Simply add a note to the invoice or send me a convo and I'll refund you the difference. This is a special deal for you, my friends, here on blogger and facebook.

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

Peculiar with a Side of Quirky

Here's a little factoid. I have an aversion to odd numbers. Five is the exception; it is a tidy little number that falls halfway between any two sets of ten. Therefore five is an even number by proxy.

While driving the climate control must be set appropriately; 68, 70, 72 or 74. When my children have a death wish they change the temperature to 73. I will swerve into on-coming traffic to correct this egregious error.

You will also find that, whenever possible, I carry an even number of items in my Etsy shop. (Note to self: list additional item.)

Now I have no control over some things such as days of the month. Therefore I am okay with a day like today. One. The first. It is what it is and I can accept that. I can move on with my life.

However my Facebook Fan Page is a completely different story. 31 of my friends like my page. Thirty-one! Why oh why couldn't it be 32? In addition I currently have 89 people who "like" the page. Again with the odd numbers! It's like fingernails on the chalkboard, my spine tingles, my hair prickles and I feel discombobulated. Yes. Yes. I am an odd duck.

Why tell you this? Because you, each and every one of you, make my day brighter. And I don't want to lose friends to satisfy my number fetish. But -- I would *love* to gain new friends. So if you know anyone who would like to join our circle, and add to the "evenness" of my page, please invite them in. How about a perfect round 100 at our party? How fantastic would that be?!!

In fact I do think a party is in order. Hmmm! I feel a giveaway coming on when that magic 100 is reached.

In the meantime please tell me I'm not alone in my idiosyncratic ways. I can't possibly be the only one. Can I?

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